Make Textbooks Affordable

Everyone knows that textbooks prices are outrageous. Students spend an average of $1,200 a year on textbooks and course materials, and prices have been rising more than for times the rate of inflation for the past two decades!

It’s no accident that textbooks are so expensive. Publishing companies are raking in huge profits while engaging in bad practices that drive up costs: issuing new editions that make used books hard to find, bundling textbooks with unnecessary CDs and pass-codes, and more. They get away with it because students don’t have a choice -- we’ve got to buy the book they’re selling, even if the price is outrageous.

The good news is that we're making progress. Students can save hundreds through discounted options like renting, used books and bookswaps on campus.  

The real momentum comes from lasting solutions like open-source textbooks, which could literally revolutionize the textbook market by offering free online access and reducing costs up to 80%. Open source textbooks are faculty-written and peer reviewed just like published textbooks, but they're available free online, free to download, and affordable in print.

So we're fighting to rein in costs by promoting cost-saving solutions on campus, while also tackling publishers' stranglehold on the market to change prices for good.  We're educating students, faculty and bookstores, and raising awareness through research and the media. We're also calling on publishers, colleges and foundations to give faculty the training and resources they need to adopt open-source textbooks and save students millions each year.

QUESTIONS? Contact Our National Campaign Staff here.

Issue updates

News Release | U.S. Department of Education | Textbooks

U.S. Department of Education Announces First-Ever Open Education Adviser Position

The U.S. Department of Education announced today the hiring of the first ever open education adviser to lead a national effort to expand schools’ access to high-quality, openly-licensed learning resources.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Textbooks

U.S. PIRG Joins 91 Organizations In Calling on White House to Open Access to Federally Funded Educational Resources

Today, U.S. PIRG, along with a broad coalition of 91 education organizations, institutions of higher education, technology companies, and foundations called on the White House to ensure federally funded educational materials are made freely available to the public as the administration develops an Open Government Partnership plan this fall.

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Media Hit | Textbooks

Open Textbooks: The Current State of Play

Use of open textbooks, one form of OER, is gaining traction across different types of colleges and universities, and the catalog of OER textbooks continues to expand.

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Media Hit | Textbooks

The Death of Textbooks?

Artificially intelligent software is reshaping traditional teaching materials—but it's unclear what the new technology will take away from the learning experience.

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